Friday, October 2, 2009

Blame it on Rio? Chicago gets whipped

Chicago just got stomped.

The Windy City's bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics was today soundly voted down by the International Olympic Committee. Chicago finished fourth out of the four finalists -- Rio de Janeiro finished first, which will give South America the right to host that continent's first-ever Olympics.

What's most interesting about this vote was how even Madrid (No.2) and Tokyo (No.3) finished better than Chicago among the four finalists. Although Chicago wasn't widely considered the favorite -- you'll read a few stories that say that, but in reality Chicago and Brazil were co-favorites -- it was expected to make at least the final three among veteran Olympic observers.

Was it because the Chicago bid was bad? No. I once got a preview of the Chicago bid while in the Windy City interviewing some Olympic athletes (I have covered four Olympics in person for The Observer). The Chicago bid was extremely solid. Much of downtown Chicago would have been transformed. The transportation, the venues, the logistics -- it was all well-organized and imaginative.

And for the IOC vote in Copenhagen this week, America brought out the heaviest hitters with Chicago connections that it could have possibly mustered -- Barack and Michelle Obama. Oprah Winfrey was heavily involved in the Chicago bid, too.

But of course the other bids were very good as well -- it was a heckuva Final Four -- and Rio's carnival atmosphere is something Chicago really can't duplicate.

There's another force at work here, too, though. Many in the U.S. Olympic movement have long privately grumbled that the IOC has an anti-American sentiment and that it usually favors European countries. (New York, which bid for the 2012 Olympics, was beaten a few years ago for the right to host those Olympics by London).

But it's also true that the last two times America held the Olympics -- the Summer Games in 1996 in Atlanta and the Winter in 2002 in Salt Lake City -- the former site was bombed and the latter was marred by a bid controversy.

In any case, I feel sorry for the U.S. Olympic leaders who put so much time into this bid (as well as the U.S. individual sport organizations, such as the U.S. canoe/kayak group based in Charlotte, which will not be able to gain the monetary benefits from a home-country Olympics).

I know a tiny bit how they feel. Once in eighth grade, I entered a public-speaking contest. I think I was the only one in my school who bothered to enter, so I advanced to the regionals. There were a total of 4 contestants, and it was held at the local library.

I worked on my speech hard, gave it my best... and finished dead last. Fourth out of four.

Thirty years later, I still remember the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when those results were announced. On a far bigger stage, those involved in Chicago's unsuccessful bid won't ever forget this loss, either.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Honestly who cares? No offense but why spend the money on the Olympics when some other country will? Sure Chicago would get a boost but is that worth the cost to clean it up?

Anonymous said...

Pure and simple, it would have been financial suicide for Chicago to host the Olympics. If anyone thinks otherwise I would love to here their opinion.

Anonymous said...

Since when did the Olympics become such an unwanted event? Do we not have any national pride anymore? Or because we know Beijing would be too hard an act to follow? because our infrastructure is 3rd work compared to upcoming host London?

Yeah, hosting the Olympics seems like an economic draw at best, but it sure seems like a better focus of nationalism than, say, the trillion dollar jingoistic expeditions in Iraq and Afghanistan...

Anonymous said...

Like Obama or not, 4th place is a good black eye for all of America. This may have been a judgement more towards, America, get your house in order!

bartandlisa said...

The IOC was on the verge of awarding the '16 games to Chicago, when someone pointed out the Cubs!

Anonymous said...

Maybe the reason Chicago didn't get the 2016 WAS because who went.

Anonymous said...

The human rights groups will go ballistic when the Brazilian authorities begin to truck the homeless out of the city before the media arrives.

Anonymous said...

quit spinning/lying for Obama, even Brazils President thought Obama had it in the bag.

http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/1009/Even_Lula.html

Obama is an Epic Joke, nobody respects him. Why on earth would we get the Olympics when he's going around the world apologizing for how 'awful america is'. Idiot

Anonymous said...

Brazil is host to the World Cup Soccer games 2 years before so will have the logistics,some of the stadiums etc presumably built They have will have new oil, new soybeans, sugar etc. to fund it all too.

Anonymous said...

Dang. And after Oprah lugged her big ole fat Brama bull sized butt there expecting an easy win. This looks like that suck USA track and field performance in the 2008 Bejing Olympics. Obama and Co will learn you dont go to the victory party until after you win.

Rio is better. Plenty of everything in a city twice the size of Chicago although they can still try for 2020 or 2024.

Anonymous said...

Would love for all the Obama bashers to have the balls to print their names with their opinions.

commonsense45 said...

The IOC is seeing what must of the world is seeing. Americans have no patriotism and will cut off it's nose in spite of it's face because of blind hatred and bigotry. You have a President who cares about the people of this country trying his best to bring about jobs and bring about healthcare for middle and lower class and all we do is complain and bit*h. I don't blame them for not voting for us we don't deserve to be looked up in the world because today's Americans have no class.. They disrespect their commander in chief and disrespect themselves.. If American falls from grace it is because we don't appreciate good but only reward bad.. Prime example.. Voted George Bush into the office twice... He lied about the Iraq war and the country set back and did not impeach nor complain.. He spent our entire surplus and no one shouted I want my country back. He turned his back on a city in crisis (New Orleans) and no one from the other side said a thing. Go figure.....

commonsense45 said...

Where were all of these haters when the country was really in peril?.. Where were all of these haters when the Patriot Act came out?.. Where were all of these haters when Wall Street damn near collapsed?.. Where were all of these haters when we found out we were lied to about Iraq.. Where were all of these haters when gas prices were damn near $5.00 a gallon.. Where were all of these haters when Americans could not travel overseas.. Where were all of these haters when the world looked at us as killers because of Iraq and New Orleans.. I tell you where they were right here on these blogs helping with the destruction of this country.. We deserve what we get because we do not appreciate anything good because we only reward the bad. Look we elected George Bush twice... Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Barack Hussein Obama...MM,MM,MM!

Anonymous said...

The IOC obviously hasn't received the memo...if you reject The Obama you are racist. How's that hope and change working out for ya!

Anonymous said...

Chicago didn't realize that beating an honor student to death with a railroad tie isn't an Olympic event. Maybe they will allow sweetheart real estate deals from slum lords next time. MM MM MM

Anonymous said...

"Americans have no patriotism and will cut off it's nose in spite of it's face because of blind hatred and bigotry" ?

HUH? Americans made the choice and not the IOC? That is so laughable typical lib gutter racist logic. The real hate and bigotry are these lib scum.

ScottG said...

The IOC has done the world, and in particular the USA, a huge favor by not awarding the 2016 Olympics to Chicago. The number of murders in Chicago in 2008 exceeded the number of soldiers killed in Iraq for that year. (508-322) And they said the Middle East was dangerous... Imagine turning tens of thousands of clueless tourists loose among the thugs of South Chicago...

Anonymous said...

Hey Barry Soetero,aka Barack Obama, thanks for flying over to Denmark to plug for your buddies in Chicthugo. Did you notice any Generals requesting help in Afghanistan on the way? By the way, thanks for intentionally screwing up the rules of engagement in Afghanistan, those Marines are pretty pissed at you right now. Moron!

Anonymous said...

Too bad for Chicago, but good in a way for its citizens to not have to repay billions of dollars in debt for the Olympics. There are plenty of worse choices among cities here. Maybe the powers that be there can now focus more on reducing crime, something they have too long neglected. Kudos to the IOC for recognizing that the only games the Rightwing radical complainers in this country,especially in the South, really want to host are war games that mean spending trillions fighting anywhere in the world but in America. Gotta keep that military industrial machine well oiled with taxpayer money.To heck with affordable healthcare for the masses.The IOC recognized that the games the crowd making the most noise in America--Beck,Limbo,McCain and the rightwing radicals in the South-- wanted to play are not the peaceful kind and that it (the IOC) is not in the wargame business. That's really why Chicago and the rest of America lost the bid. Many here prefer a warmongering president, Bush who lied to get the country to go fight a useless war, over a president who prefers to try to work things out at the negotiations table 1st before going to war. Kudos to the IOC for recognizing that, and that the rightwing in America is so unpatriotic they hate their own countrymen (if liberal)more than they hate the Taliban. We have no unity and the WORLD KNOWS IT.

Anonymous said...

The real truth is Obama or Chicago had nothing to with the IOC decision. The decision had nothing do with liberal bigotry. Americans are greedy and arrogant thinking they can take whatever they want.

Los Angeles got the summer games in 1984 and Atlanta got them in 1996. Also the winter games were in Lake Placid in 1980 and Salt lake City in 2002.

South America has never had the Olympics so they were the obv fairness choice. Rio is a big name tourist ooastal city with a huge mountainous backdrop. The giant towering Jesus statue on the mountain overlooking the beach and city didnt hurt either with a metro population of over 14 million.

Anonymous said...

Hope and Change...MM,MM,MM
IOC not drinking the Kool Aid, either.

Matt said...

And anyone expected a different result from the same city that's home to the Cubs? But seriously - the Olympics are a financial boondoggle. Nice attention to have while they're around, but once they're gone, it's the same-old-same-old with a bunch of empty buildings and structures. See: Salt Lake City.

atstinger said...

Thanks, Matt, for making Scott's blog look brilliant.

SLC's "structures" were the then-Delta Center (still in use for the Jazz), Rice-Eccles Stadium (U Football home games), Kearns Olympic Oval (home of US Speed Skating and round-the-year practices and it's next to a community center), Park City skiing (like Park City cleared out after the Olympics).

Come on out and take a look around sometime.

Anonymous said...

America need to focus on economic, preventing terrorist, iran get a nuke; people dying to look for a job.
Obama and his wife and alot of agents who has to protect them, should stay in his office to solve these problems instead he use people tax money to go to bid for Olympic. It is rediculous. What he has been done for this country since he took Oval Office. Nothing!
Nothing at all. American should wake up, open their eyes and stop raise him as a hero.

Anonymous said...

Barack "Epic Fail" Obama...MMM,MMM,MMM!

Hap said...

Guess the Olympic committee wasn't as impressed or gullible as the American voting constituency.
He's too egotistical to be cognizant of what actually happened.